Ayahuasca is a popular plant medicine noted for its psychedelic effects that can help users experience transformational journeys of self-discovery and reflection. In June 2018, the HighExistence team visited Rythmia to discover what the place offers. We agreed to record a podcast and write a Rythmia review about our experience during our stay. This review is my attempt at being as honest and unbiased as possible.
Upon entering, the first impression is
Before entering Rythmia Life Advancement Center, I had already lived in Costa Rica for four weeks. We visited many Plant Medicine retreat centres after our event before staying at Rythmia to wrap up our stay in Costa Rica. There was a difference between Rythmia and the other retreat centres we had visited. In his introductory talk, Rythmia’s founder joked, “The fences are not to stop things from getting in, but to stop people from trying to get out.”
We were greeted by immaculately dressed staff after exiting our shuttle. In addition, staff members remembered each person’s name very well, a small but essential detail. Our next step was to fill out some legal forms with the help of two wonderful female facilitators. Also, we were interviewed by a medical doctor who asked about our health and previous experiences with Plant Medicine. My previous experience with psychedelic compounds included Plant Medicine and others, but Rythmia offered a new kind.
Breath of Life
A small flashlight was built into the key of my apartment. Having this feature made walking around at night much easier for me. My room impressed me when I got there. Rythmia was the most luxurious lodge I stayed in during my 4 weeks in the jungle, from jungle huts to well-known hostels. Since I had done the breathing before and most people in the room hadn’t, I started doing it like an experienced pro at Rythmia. Your body becomes more oxygenated through breathwork, causing you to enter a state of altered consciousness.
Dining at Rythmia
Rythmia’s restaurant was called Roots. An array of nutritious whole foods was served in a buffet near the swimming pool. I was blown away by the food overall. I loved everything I ate there, even though it was diet-approved and designed for plant-medicine preparation.
The Plant Medicine Ceremonies
Four consecutive nights were dedicated to Plant Medicine ceremonies: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On the first three nights, the ceremony ran from 5.30PM until midnight; on the fourth night, the ceremony started at 7.30PM and ended beyond sunrise. Pillows and blankets were placed on top of single mattresses in the ceremony space. Toilet paper and a blue bucket were located next to each mattress. The fact is that emotional processing often involves vomiting, diarrhoea, crying, laughing, sweating, shaking, and yawning.
The first night
Having easy access to a breeze, jungle sounds, and trees, I chose to sleep outside on my mattress. Two female shamanic guides from Europe conducted the first ceremony. Despite hearing enough stories to give me cause for concern, I didn’t fear drinking the medicine. However, I had drunk medicine two times before and felt little to nothing afterwards. Their experience as medicine guides has given them insight into many things ordinary people haven’t.
In the aftermath of the medicine, I was overcome with an unbelievably positive, golden light. There was a lot of peace, happiness, and energy in me and hunger. I returned to my room, nibbled on some nuts, took a shower, and left pleased voice messages for some of my loved ones. The medicine I’m taking is terrific.
The second night
Two men brought a more serious, darker tone to the second night. One of the guys was an ex-opiate addict who had overcome his addiction to Plant Medicine. There was a sense of zen and groundedness about both men.
I sat in the middle of everyone at the end of the night and cried out gratitude. Having this night made me so happy. The night was both challenging and unique for me. There was a strange feeling in my gut that whatever happened needed to happen. I was more of a man than I had been before.
The third night
I was afraid to drink again after the previous night’s intensity. Yet I knew I would regret my decision if I did not drink. Since the ceremony was run by women only, the energy was much more serene tonight. This ceremony began with jungle sounds for about two hours instead of music, as is typical.
A gentle night was had by all. Rather than drinking two full cups, I chose to drink 1.5 cups. My connection to the spirit world stands out the most from this night. There was an actual presence of spirits around me as I sat on my mattress.
The fourth night
We drank Columbian-type Plant Medicine on the fourth night. This night was unique because the ceremony began at 7.30PM and went on until sunrise the next day. Shamans from other tribes were taught by the shaman running this ceremony. With his experience and grounded energy, he left a lasting impression.
The ultimate way to end the week at Rythmia was to spend the night with my brothers and sisters. At this sunrise, I was different than I had been a week earlier. There is something extraordinary about plant medicine.
The meeting with Gerry
During the first day of our stay, we attended a mandatory lecture hosted by Rythmia’s founder, Gerard Powell. My impression of Gerry was that he was quite a fantastic person. It was the same for Gerry at the retreat as for everyone else. His eyes sparkled, he had perfect white teeth, and he had a thick head of hair that was tanned. Initially, I thought he was some slick, wealthy businessman looking to create a luxury Plant Medicine resort. My opinion changed when Gerry started talking.